Allocating Your Assets: When Fair is Not Equal, Talk with Your Kids
Perhaps—if you’re taking care of estate planning early in life, for example—dividing your estate into thirds for your three children works. The distribution plan is both equal and fair. But as time passes, what is equal and what is fair may diverge.
What if one of your children develops a debilitating disease? What if one of your children took a year-long leave of absence from work to care for your spouse in hospice? What if two of your children received ivy-league educations, but one paid her own way through community college?
For these reasons and more, you may want to allocate your assets to your children in a way that you feel is fair but is not mathematically equal. Yet one major goal of estate planning is to ensure family harmony. To navigate this kind of scenario while promoting family harmony, we suggest communicating your intentions up front with your adult children as you create or revise your estate plan.
Benefits of opening a conversation about an unequal distribution plan:
- You can explain your decisions so your children understand your thought process.
- Allows questions about your decisions.
- Provides an opportunity to explore feelings up front to prevent resentment later.
- Removes any surprise when distributions are made.
- Opens an exchange of perspectives, which may even affect your decisions.
Although it may not be the most comfortable conversation to have, in the end, taking on the subject head on should promote family harmony after your death.
Contact a Virginia estate planning attorney if you’re ready to begin the estate planning process. We’re an experienced legal team, prepared to guide and support you through the entire process. Call Wilson Law PLC today at 866-603-5976 to set up your complimentary meeting or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you to schedule a meeting so we can get to know each other.